Progress 2011: Roof Raiser

Published 7:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

6 minutes Hanson and his wife, Laural, left their home, located on County Road 46 two miles past the Armstrong corner, at 6:50 p.m. the night the tornadoes struck, to go out to eat. A twister hit their property at about 6:56 p.m.

Bob Hanson, owner of Rightway Roofing, said his crew has repaired 50 roofs and have another 150 to go in repairing damages from hail and wind damage during last summer’s tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

“We didn’t know what was coming,” he said.

“If we would’ve stayed, we would’ve been gone,” he added. “It sucked everything out of the house, and the basement was full of bricks.”

Email newsletter signup

2 months Hanson and his family moved into a rental property for two months after the tornado hit, and then purchased a house about five miles from the property that was destroyed. Although their old house is still standing on the homestead, it’s uninhabitable as the twister lifted and moved it 50 feet from the foundation. Hanson has rebuilt one barn on the old homestead and hopes to rebuild his house there in the future.

50 roofs Hanson and his crew repaired and replaced 50 roofs after the tornadoes. He said they still have 150 roofs left to work on and they are booked through mid-summer. They are also busy reinspecting roofs for a second time from damages last June.

“People are finding leaks, after first inspections found nothing wrong,” he said.

5 employees Hanson has owned Rightway Roofing for 18 years and remains a small business with just five employees. He said having enough quality manpower is the biggest challenge when trying to compete against larger businesses.

Hero: Bob Hanson

Secret identity: owner of Rightway Roofing
Base of operations: Rightway Roofing, Albert Lea
Superpowers: honesty with customers and letting customers know that they’re covered
Kryptonite: not enough manpower
Family: wife, Laural; three children April Danielson, Bobby Hanson and Jasmine Hanson
Origin: Hanson graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1977 and has been in the roofing industry since 1980. After losing his own house, along with six buildings, a pickup and a grove of trees on his homestead near Alden in the tornado, Hanson and his crew focused on helping those in need around the community.